TJ’s Pain De Campagne (country bread loaf)


Trader Joe’s Pain De Campagne (French Country Bread) – Minimalist packaging huh? But trust me, if you see this bread, grab it. It’s delicious. In a bakery I’m thinking this would sell for about 6 or 7 bucks? Trader Joe’s had it for about $2.80 for just over a 1 lb. piece.

Ingredients include: Water, Unbleached Unbromated Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Rye Flour, Whole Wheat Flour, Dark Beer…. We are talking serious bread folks, good bakery bread. Naturally this will greatly benefit from being refreshed with a baking or toasting in the oven for 10 minutes to get it crusty again.

I do find it pretty funny they write on the package: “Contains Wheat. May Also Contain Gluten”.

TJ’s PUMPKIN BRIOCHE TWIST BREAD


(*super for French Toast)

(fall seasonal item) I am not one of those people who goes crazy every Fall for Trader Joe’s seasonal “everything goes pumpkin” thing which frankly I find can be a bit much. Seriously… Pumpkin Dog Treats?! Pumpkin Hummus?! Come on now, that sounds like a crime against nature. However, that doesn’t mean Trader Joe’s doesn’t have a few pumpkin related items which are actually quite good and worth checking out. Here’s one of them: the Pumpkin Brioche Twist bread. It’s really good!

Now I’m absolutely in love with TJ’s FRENCH BRIOCHE. So when I just saw this new seasonal variation, PUMPKIN BRIOCHE TWIST, I had to get one of these to try. Not only does it look really good, it is in fact excellent. It isn’t heavy in the pumpkin spices department, there is just a subtle hint of spice going on and if I didn’t see pumpkin listed in the ingredients I may have not even known there was any pumpkin in it. So personally for this very reason, that they have done the pumpkin thing as subtle, I find this quite good.

This brioche is terrific toasted, either spread with butter or cream cheese and possibly some jam. I haven’t tried it yet to make French Toast but I am sure that this would make fantastic French Toast*, so I would give that a try that for sure. You might try this broche toasted up gently and spread with grass fed butter, a sprinkle of brown or coconut sugar and a light dusting of TJ’s Pumpkin Spice (or cinnamon) it you want something yummy around Halloween time. If you are into the whole TJ pumpkin season thing I think their Pumpkin Butter (pumpkin spread?) would be good on this.

The PUMPKIN BRIOCHE TWIST is $3.99 (same as regular sliced Brioche)

* UPDATE – I finally made French Toast with this pumpkin brioche twist today. It was SO GOOD. Wow, this bread is super as French Toast! A Must Try.

French Toast with this is AMAZING

Toasted with butter and jam

Trader Joe’s British Style CRUMPETS


Did you know that TJ sells “British Style Crumpets”? Maybe you didn’t even notice them, near the English Muffins. Well you may want to try these crumpets if you have never tried them. They are delicious and and quite different from English Muffins or most toasted breads. Crumpets are soft and full of holes almost like a pancake. Crumpets unique hole structure makes them great at absorbing melted butter of course as well as jam going into all those glorious holes. That is what makes them so scrumptious. Toast these up gently, until slightly golden brown, then top with good French or Kiwi butter and your favorite jam (or marmalade). They are both a bit soft and a bit crunchy, a fantastic combo. These crumpets are about $3.29 for a pack of six crumpets that come in two sealed plastic compartments. Personally I cut them in two and freeze one for later.

TJ’s RED CHILI SCALLOPED CRACKERS


Trader Joe’s RED CHILE SCALLOPED CRACKERS

These are one of my favorite crackers TJ sells. Don’t be scared off trying these if you don’t get along with spicy, they have just a bare hint of spiciness. In fact these are delicious all around crackers. The are equally delicious on their own or with soup and especially are great and compliment anything you put on them: cheese, smoked fish, ham, salumi, any kind of dip, guac… They make an excellent base for hors d’oeuvres and would be great to add to a cheese or charcuterie board. They are even tasty all by themselves. Try some softened cream cheese and smoked salmon on these for a heavenly combo. A package is $1.99. Here’s what TJ has to say about them:

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/063277

These crackers are simply delicious and dare I say, quite addictive. At least for me. I have trouble stopping myself from devouring a whole box. TIP: you might want to get 2 boxes. Or even 3. Because that box you think you will keep in the pantry just in case “For Company” will get eaten. By you

TJ’s HABANERO LIME FLOUR TORTILLAS


Trader Joe’s HABANERO LIME FLOUR TORTILLAS ($2.69, 17 oz package of 10)

There are some traditional regional food divides in some countries. Traditionally in Mexico in the North they lean towards using flour tortillas (Tortillas de Harina) while Southern Mexico traditionally prefers tortillas made from corn (Tortillas de maiz). I generally prefer corn tortillas as they’re more flavorful and have a chewier texture when cooked. However sometimes I do buy flour tortillas as they have certain qualities that make them useful for some things. For one thing, flour tortillas are softer and more pliable so easier to fold. They are usually bigger too so can hold more ingredients inside. They can be used for Quesadillas and Burritos. They can also be used for “wrap type” sandwiches, etc. If you want flour tortillas, I think the Trader Joe’s HABANERO LIME FLOUR TORTILLAS are an interesting choice as they bring a bit of flavor to the party. These tortillas have a little bit of heat in them from habanero chiles, plus a bit of lime flavor. They have a lovely color, tinted reddish orange from anatto seed (a natural food coloring). Package says “MEDIUM HOT” but remember when you add fillings that moderates the spicy level.

Last night, I made Quesadillas (vegetarian actually) for dinner with these Habanero/Lime tortillas. Filling was: Pepper Jack Cheese, Soy Chorizo and TJ’s Refried Salsa Pinto Beans (which I gussied up*). Topping of avocado, tomato, more cheese and Green Dragon SauceMore Refritos on the side…. They were really tasty!

Need a recipe for Quesadillas? Here’s one…

  • TIP – Out of the can, TJ’s Salsa Pinto Refried Beans are really boring. They need a little work if you want them to have some taste. I add olive oil, oregano, cumin, chile powder and a little Green Dragon or Zhoug. Cuban Style Spice Blend works great with these or any beans. Warm frijole refritos over low heat, stirring often so the bottom doesnt burn. Some cheese on top is nice!

TJ’s TANDOORI NAAN (frozen)


I really enjoy the Naan Indian breads that TJ carries. These frozen Naan breads are tasty and super convenient, only requiring warming up. They are “handmade in India”. A package of 4 Naan is just $1.99, wow! TJ sells two frozen versions, this plain Tandoori Naan and a Garlic Tandoori Naan version which includes garlic and cilantro. I buy a pack of each kind to keep in the freezer. They’re both really convenient and quite good.

Naan breads can be used for so many things. Of course these flat-breads go great with any of TJ’s pretty numerous Indian food offerings but Naan can be used anywhere a flatbread type bread would be good… with saucy foods, soups, etc. Bake these with cheese on top, or some ham or prosciutto, and you have a terrific easy creation. Pizza with sauce? Sure, I’ve done them that way*. Your imagination is the limit on what you can do with these.

To heat them you can throw these into a regular or toaster oven, or sometimes just throw them in a cast iron pan. Hit them with some olive oil or butter or ghee and they become even more tasty and a little crispier. I sometimes add butter and fresh crushed garlic and these are fab. Or just buy the excellent Garlic Naan version if you don’t want to smash your own fresh garlic. The Garlic Naan ones are really flavorful with some green stuff (cilantro or scallions).

So with your next TJ Indian feast, grab some Naan while you’re at it. A package of maybe TJ’s frozen Channa Masala ($2.29 and delicious) or foil pack of Tadka Dal ($1.99) plus some Naan and some tomato and you have a dinner in 3 minutes for a few bucks that is as good some takeout. I even made my own Tadka Dal and ate it with this Naan. Since I had extra dal, I gave some and 2 naan to my upstairs neighbors who thanked me profusely and told me they devoured it in minutes and that it was as good as an Indian restaurant.

TJ also sells some non-frozen Naan breads in the fresh Bread section. These Naan however cost more, they’re bigger and thicker.

  • You can put together pizzas using Naan as your base. These naan are kind of thin so if you want a bit thicker base, get the fresh Naan TJ carries in the fresh breads section. Though they sell a Pizza base there too!

RAVE

Trader Joe’s SLICED FRENCH BRIOCHE BREAD


“Buttery, moist and perfectly French”

Big wow TJ product.

One of those so good you can’t stop eating them things. SLICED FRENCH BRIOCHE bread is a big big hit at Trader Joe’s, it’s a best seller year round and not for nothing. Almost anytime I go to TJs if I glance around on the check out line at what is in other customer’s carts it’s a sure thing I will see someone with a package (or two) of this. Sliced brioche is one of TJ’s most popular items for good reason. Soft and eggy, slightly sweet, it comes as thick slices, about 1/2 inch thick. This French brioche is the real McCoy as it is “Made in France” and imported. Brioche (and Challah) are rich yeasted breads made with eggs and butter and are yellow from the egg yolks. This super soft fluffy bread is delicious as-is untested perhaps spread with some softened (French) butter or softened cream cheese. It makes great sandwiches.

It is yummy, soft and delicious as is untoasted but of course is equally wonderful TOASTED to a perfect golden brown, which may be the most delicious toast you will ever have.

TIP: Brioche can go from Perfectly Golden Brown Toast to Burnt and ruined in a few seconds, so keep a sharp eye on it as you toast it! 

RECIPES? Wonderful Cinnamon Toast – Toast up some brioche. Put on good butter, ground cinnamon and some brown sugar. Yum!

FRENCH TOAST – Brioche as you may have read online naturally makes THE most amazing French Toast. You must try this next time you want French toast*. It will be moist and delicious and heavenly… A breakfast your family will beg you to make again and again. Its so soft you should ideally leave the bread out overnight to get a bit stale to hold up better but even if you don’t, and use it fresh, its great.

A package of TJ French Brioche is $3.99. Now in a local bakery, a brioche bread like this would be maybe $7? So for 4 bucks it’s as usual a great good TJ deal. One of these can get devoured easily, so I guess thats why I see folks buying it often two bags at a time. I keep it in the freezer, of course. It defrosts rapidly and stays super fresh frozen. TIP: If you want a thin slice of brioche you can cut it more easily frozen when its a bit stiff. Its easier to cut in half, though it’s a little tricky for perfect slices, and be careful of course. If cut in half you get a very thin slice. I find this good for some things, especially if you don’t want a super thick sandwich. For example cucumber sandwiches !  This brioche bread makes the most amazing cucumber sandwiches! Or make open face Scandinavian style things with this (salmon, cream cheese, dill, lemon….)

One note – be sure to peel off the little strip of paper it is baked in before eating !

One more thing – I saw a restaurant serving hamburgers on some brioche that looked very much like this. So I tried it. I made the hamburgers (1/4 lb) kind of square and not round. Toasted the Brioche. Cut in half before serving. Excellent (if a bit messy!)

RAVE

  • Need a recipe for French Toast? This is a nice one

https://www.fromvalerieskitchen.com/brioche-french-toast/

TJ recipe for Raspberry Ricotta Toast with sliced brioche

https://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-flyer/article/4647

Trader Joe’s MINI HAMBURGER BUNS


Just in time for Memorial Day….I got some Trader Joe’s MINI HAMBURGER BUNS.

I love these. If you haven’t seen these before, they are just thing to make mini-hambugers or “sliders”.

Theses buns are very soft, eggy, yummy small buns, coated with sesame seeds on the top. They are the perfect size for making mini-burgers, which I prefer actually. Say 2-3 oz of meat in a mini burger / slider? You can eat one, maybe 2 of them.

These toast up very nicely. If you don’t want them toasted I would at least warm them a bit before serving, maybe 5 minutes in the oven/toaster oven.

They’re not only good for burgers but also for making any kind of small sandwiches of course! Ham and cheese, melted cheese, turkey, peanut butter and jelly… just about anything. Use your imagination. Or you could just serve them as dinner rolls. Anyhow, they’re good. A package of TJ’s Mini Hamburger Buns (8 buns) goes for $1.69. You can’t beat that.

RAVE
photo credit wikicommons by Praytino